Subaru’s special edition All-Wheel Drive Forester tS is getting a hot reception ahead of its official appearance in dealerships in June. Teased late last year, the ultimate version of Subaru’s sporty turbocharged SUV has generated huge interest with scores of customers making deposits – despite the fact Forester tS is only now starting to trickle onto showroom floors. 

Subaru Australia Managing Director, Nick Senior, said: “Forester tS is a graphic demonstration of Subaru’s innovation, uniqueness and inspiration.

“Arguably it is the only true sports SUV under $80,000. And with its rarity and Subaru’s renowned retained value, it is bound to be one of the first collectible SUVs.” He added: “When we flagged Forester tS late last year, the customer enquiries went through the roof and the end result is we’re already wishing we’d ordered more than 300. It’s clear proof of the success of this clever joint development between the Subaru factory and the performance arm, Subaru Tecnica International (STI).

“While the cars were built in the Subaru factory, they were transferred to STI for final completion and the addition of around 30 items. It certainly gives us great confidence in progressing other joint projects between the factory and STI.”

Forester tS offers $12,000 of extra features for an increment of just $7,000 over the Manufacturer’s List Price (MLP)* of the Forester XT Premium, on which it is based (Forester tS does not have a sunroof), adding:


  • Black front grille with STI badge
  • Brembo 4pot front brakes
  • Brembo 2pot rear brakes
  • Cherry Red stripe on front grille and rear bumper
  • Crystal Black Silica door mirror covers
  • Crystal Black Silica roof spoiler
  • Rear subframe bushings
  • STI and tS rear badges
  • STI Enkei 19-inch alloy wheels 19x7.5J
  • STI flexible draw stiffeners front and rear
  • STI flexible tower bar - front
  • STI front spoiler
  • STI front stabiliser bushings
  • STI rear subframe support
  • STI tuned coil springs - Cherry Red - 15mm lower
  • STI tuned dampers (front inverted)


  • Black roof liner and trimmings
  • Centre console lid with red stitching
  • Combination instrument gauge with STI logo
  • CVT gear knob with STI logo
  • Door trims with suede, red stitch and black grip
  • Leather and suede trim seats with red accents; red stitch - front with black STI embroidery
  • Leather trim steering wheel with STI logo
  • Multi-Function Display visor with cover and black stitch
  • Heater control panel with red coloured rings
  • STI red push button start

Forester tS has the choice of three exterior colours: Crystal White Pearl, Crystal Black Silica or WR Blue, each with black interior trim.

Forester tS has an MLP of $54,990.

*Price is Subaru (Aust) Pty Limited’s Manufacturer’s List Price only and includes GST on the list price but excludes dealer delivery charges and all other government and statutory charges. For the drive away price of Subaru vehicles consumers should be advised to contact their local authorized Subaru dealer.

My Drive this week was the Subaru Forester. This car is one of the more popular compact off-road four wheel drives, and for the 2015 model year update Subaru made the drastic change of lowering prices across the range, with some variants dropping by as much as $3,500. The other hallmark addition was an automatic gearbox being added to diesel variants. This was a long time coming and should help boost the Forester diesel’s appeal.

The 4th generation Subaru Forester has been around with us for almost two years now, so the updated version I’m looking at today is the first update in this model’s history.

The exterior gets a single tweak – a shark fin radio antenna, which refines the look of the car just a little bit more. That’s the only exterior update.

Inside, the main change is the new, integrated centre console, which looks far better than the previous slot-in module and allows for a larger 7.0-inch LCD touchscreen. Other minor changes were made to add a more premium effect to the cabin, including the use of piano black and silver highlights. Otherwise you’ve still got the roominess and comfort the Forester previously offered – leg room is decent both front and back, while the load carrying capacity of 422 litres is quite generous.

So, let’s take a look at this new automatic box. Quick rundown first – the Forester’s 2.0 litre turbo diesel engine produces 108 kW of power and 350 Nm of torque. The automatic is a CVT, meaning unlimited ratios, although under strong throttle it will start imitating a stepped gearbox so that you feel like you’re going faster. It’s a trick, but most people like it, so that’s all that matters really. It’s a Subaru, meaning all four wheels are driven at all times, and fuel consumption officially averages 6.3 L/100km in combined driving.

Funnily enough, the Forester driving experience is quite similar to the Outback diesel I tested earlier this year. Off the mark performance is a bit average thanks to some turbo lag, but once you get going the strong torque of the diesel really comes into its own and gets you moving quickly. Kick-down reaction is quite decent, so overtaking manoeuvres on motorways are easy to execute. High speed driving is quite refined, although slightly noisier if you’re sitting in the back, and real-life fuel consumption is also reasonably close to the rated one, with my score being 6.9 L/100km (in combined usage).

The always-on four-wheel drive helps considerably for handling. The Forester is very well composed around corners, hooking admirably and staying pointed where you want it to go. The brakes also work well, pulling the car up quickly when needed.

Diesel Foresters are now available in two variants, the L and S. L model diesel Foresters get the 7.0-inch touchscreen I mentioned earlier as standard, as well as dual zone climate control air conditioning, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps, multi-function display in the instrument cluster and USB/Bluetooth audio with Pandora support. The S adds to this with HID headlamps, proximity keyless entry, sunroof, satellite navigation, leather trim and electrically-adjustable front seats.

Pricing for the Forester range now starts from $29,990, although a diesel L starts from $33,490 with a manual gearbox. Throw in another $2,000 for automatic, while a fully-kitted S automatic will set you back $41,490. All prices are before on-road costs.

The Forester makes for a great family car, and it can certainly handle a reasonable amount of off-roading if you want to go camping or just enjoy the great outdoors. It’s on sale now.

19 September 2015
Albert Malik

Subaru has launched its Model Year 2016 All-Wheel Drive Forester range with a refined yet robust new look, quieter more comfortable cabin and upgraded instruments. Suspension upgrades aiding stability, plus Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) improvements, underline Forester’s status as Subaru’s best-selling Sports Utility Vehicle in Australia. Forester’s fresh face is reflected in the new front bumper (excluding 2.0XT), grille, headlights, plus – in range-topping variants - fog light surrounds. Distinctive new tail lights also add to the visual appeal. 

Forester 2.5i-S and 2.0XT variants add Steering Responsive Headlights. Interior details include driver’s seat memory function in premium variants and Siri compatibility across the range. Subaru Australia Managing Director, Nick Senior, said: “With this latest list of enhancements Forester will maintain its appeal as the flexible, fun family wagon that stands out as having genuine All-Wheel Drive credentials in a crowd of two-wheel drive triers. Forester’s multi award-winning status over nearly 19 years is clear proof of its ongoing appeal. Its track record for refined yet durable packaging, five-star safety, high grade engineering and rock-solid retained value speaks volumes. You only have to see the number of first generation Foresters still on road to understand why this model’s credentials are top-of-class.”

Forester’s robust on-road presence has evolved with refinements to the front and rear. The exterior design expresses Sports Utility Vehicle power and character, combined with cutting-edge technology. The classic Subaru hexagonal grille is revised, together with the re-profiled front bumper on Forester 2.0i-L, 2.5i-L, 2.5i-S and diesel variants, along with fog light surrounds (other than Forester 2.0i-L). Steering Responsive LED headlights and Daytime Running Lights are new on Forester 2.5i-S and 2.0XT variants, while all MY16 Foresters feature new LED combination rear lights.

Also distinguishing the new model year are fresh design 17 and 18-inch alloy wheels, which offer aerodynamic benefits too. A new colour in the range is Sepia Bronze Metallic. The high grade headlights in Forester 2.5i-S, XT and XT Premium have compact, high-performance LED projector units, with optimum light distribution. Integrated Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), with a slitted C-shaped motif, provide hawk-eyed forward visibility along with a wide angle.

Forester’s new rear combination lights have a three-dimensional C-shaped motif, matching the headlights. The clear stop light consists of an LED that is lit in red-only while the lights are activated. The interior design features typical Forester functionality, combined with a high quality, refined feel. The overall design of the instrument panel is clean, with a silver frame and high gloss black decorative panel in range-topping variants. The most touched parts, such as door grips and the central pillars of the instrument panel, are wrapped in well-textured material for a high-grade design.

The driver’s instrument panel has a colour LCD multi-information display for excellent visibility. A silver frame is incorporated into the spoke section of the steering wheel for a powerful yet functional design. Seat fabric in entry-level variants has a stronger contrast for greater visual appeal. In leather trim Foresters, quilting is added to the door arm rest, for added visual appeal, while the seats use thicker underside cushioning for greater comfort and support. The hand brake lever grip button now has chrome-type finish. 

Cushioning is added to both ends of the instrument panel, together with the volume of sealer, benefitting NVH. In Forester variants with factory-fitted satellite navigation, the reversing camera guide lines now display more quickly when “R” is selected. A light is also added to each vanity mirror (with the exception of Forester 2.0i). The Multi-Function Display (MFD) switch is moved from the steering wheel to the centre dashboard panel for easy operation from both driver and passenger seat, for greater convenience. Screen design is upgraded, making it easier to understand the link between switch operations and screen displays.

Aerodynamic performance is refined via several measures, including the shape of the engine under-cover and reduced air resistance from the new pattern alloy wheels. In Forester 2.0-litre and 2.5-litre normally aspirated variants, a cover is added to the engine oil removal hole, for improved aerodynamic performance. On Forester 2.5i-S and 2.0XT variants, the optical axes of the headlamps are moved left or right according to steering operation on corners and intersections, illuminating the direction in which the vehicle is travelling, improving visibility at night. The headlights have a swivel actuator to move the optical axes. 

In Forester 2.0XT and XT Premium, control functions of each SI-Drive mode are changed for more responsive driving. Auto stepped speed control is adopted in I and S modes, for direct acceleration with a sporty feel. In S# mode, cross ratio has been used with eight-step speed control, for easier use of power bands. The new speed control system means speed is continuously variable at low throttle angles, when driving in the D range. But it changes to step control at high throttle angles, making the most of the CVT benefits. This keeps the engine speed from peaking during strong acceleration, such as when merging on a motorway. The speed control raises the integration between increased vehicle speed and engine operating sound, for a more pleasant feel during acceleration.

Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) estimates a reduction in Forester cabin noise of approximately 5.0 per cent, compared to the previous model year. Vibration and noise are reduced through a variety of measures including thicker door window glass. Body structure is also strategically revised, while damping and sound absorbing materials are strengthened, making Forester significantly quieter and more comfortable. Door seal structure is changed to reduce wind noise. Front partition glass and front door glass thickness is increased from 3.5 mm to 4.0 mm, while rear door glass is increased from 3.1 mm to 3.5 mm.

Control logic is added to the EPS for when the engine is switched off. This ensures steering control if the engine is accidentally turned off while driving. EPS continues to operate for a period of time, set according to the vehicle speed.  Driving stability and ride comfort are improved in Forester 2.0XT Premium. When understeer is detected during turning, VDC applies the brake on the inner side of the vehicle (both front and rear wheels), while delivering a relative increase in driving power to the outer side, improving turn performance.

Driving stability and ride comfort is improved through suspension innovations including a new steering gear box, developed to improve feel. Steering wheel angle is also reduced, for improved handling. Steering vibration is also reduced - and the time until it subsides is shortened. In Forester 2.0XT Premium, Active Torque Vectoring is adopted, improving tracing of road curves. Across the Forester range, the balance between ride comfort and driving stability is improved. Friction of the front strut and rear shock absorbers is optimized, while operational efficiency of rear shock absorbers and stabilizers is improved.

Damping force is changed in front struts and rear shock absorbers, while the spring constant of front and rear coil springs is also changed. Vehicle responsiveness during steering is improved, with rigidity of front suspension cross member optimized, together with the spring constant of rear suspension bushes. Stability during straight driving is enhanced too, with rear wheel suspension alignment revised, with tread, camber angle and toe-in volume all changed. Weld length is extended in the front cross member. The attachment point on the rear stabilizer link is changed to improve operational efficiency.

Trailing link bush spring constant is changed too. Also enhancing handling and steering feel, the gear ratio is now quicker at 14:1 (previously 15.5:1).


*Prices are Subaru (Aust) Pty Limited’s Manufacturer’s List Prices only and include GST on the list price but exclude dealer delivery charges and all other government and statutory charges. For the actual drive away price of Subaru vehicles consumers should be advised to contact their local authorized Subaru dealer.


  • Forester 2.0i-L manual $29,990
  • Forester 2.5i-L auto $32,990
  • Forester 2.5i-S auto $39,490
  • Forester 2.0D-L manual $33,490
  • Forester 2.0D-L auto $35,490
  • Forester 2.0D-S manual $39,490
  • Forester 2.0D-S auto $41,490
  • Forester 2.0XT auto $40,990
  • Forester 2.0XT Premium auto $47,990

At A Glance

Forester 2.0i-L


  • ABS anti-lock brakes with four-wheel discs (ventilated front, solid rear), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
  • Child seat anchor points x 3
  • Curtain airbags – full length (front and rear)
  • Driver’s knee airbag
  • Dual front airbags
  • Dual side airbags
  • Fog lamp integrated daytime running lights
  • Front seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters
  • Front adjustable seatbelt anchorages
  • Height adjustable seatbelt anchors
  • ISOFIX child seat anchorages (two rear seats)
  • Rear door child lock
  • Reversing camera
  • Safety pedals - shock absorbing brake and clutch pedals
  • Seatbelt indicator lights – all seats
  • Side intrusion bars
  • Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive
  • Three-point A/ELR rear centre seatbelt
  • Vehicle Dynamics Control


  • 7-inch touchscreen entertainment with Pandora compatibility – steering wheel controls
  • Auto Stop Start
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Bottle holders in each door + two cup holders in centre consoles
  • Cargo area light
  • Cargo hooks (four)
  • Cargo security blind
  • Central locking - remote
  • Chrome-type inner door handles
  • Cruise control – steering wheel buttons
  • Driver’s footrest
  • Dual zone climate control air conditioning
  • Front puddle lamps
  • Height and reach adjustable steering column
  • Height adjustable driver’s seat
  • Immobiliser security system
  • Leather steering wheel and gearshift
  • Luggage hooks (four)
  • Luminescent gauges
  • Map lights (2)
  • Multi-Function Display
  • Overhead console
  • Power steering, mirrors and windows
  • Rear privacy glass
  • Rear seat centre armrest
  • Rear seat recline
  • Remote fuel lid release – tethered fuel cap
  • Seatback pockets
  • Security blind
  • Steering wheel audio, phone, cruise and Multi Information Display (MID) controls
  • Two remote central locking keys
  • USB connection x 2
  • Vanity mirror
  • 60/40 split/fold rear seat
  • 12V/120W power jacks (three)


  • 17-inch alloy wheels – full size alloy spare
  • Chrome-highlight grille
  • Colour-coded door mirrors with indicators
  • Rear roof mounted sharkfin radio antenna
  • Rear spoiler
  • Rear wiper
  • Roof rails

Other Features

  • Auto hatch unlock on key
  • DataDot security technology
  • Electronic Throttle Control (ETC)
  • Manual six-speed gearbox
  • SI-Drive (two-mode)
  • Three-year unlimited kilometre warranty
  • 2.0 litre DOHC horizontally opposed Boxer engine produces 110 Kilowatts of power at 6200 rpm and 198 Newtonmetres of torque at 4200 rpm.

Forester 2.5i-S Adds (To 2.5i-L Specifications)

  • Automatic transmission lock-out - need foot on brake, key in ignition “on” position, to release lever
  • Paddleshift Lineartronic™ Constantly Variable Transmission (CVT)
  • Sliding centre console
  • X-Mode
  • 2.5 litre DOHC horizontally opposed boxer engine. 126 kW/5800 rpm, 235 Nm/4100 rpm

Forester 2.5i-S Adds (To 2.5-L Specifications)

  • Automatic cargo door
  • Eight-way adjustable power driver’s and front passenger seat
  • Electric sunroof
  • EyeSight® driver assist with adaptive cruise control
  • Front wiper de-icer
  • Heated fronts seats and door mirrors
  • Steering Responsive LED dusk-sensing headlights with integrated Daytime Running Lights and pop-up washers
  • Leather trim, including steering wheel and gearshift
  • Rain sensing wipers
  • Satellite navigation – factory-fitted
  • Smart key and push button start
  • 18-inch alloy wheels

Forester 2.0 XT Adds (Does not include EyeSight or Auto Stop Start)

  • Engine cover
  • Three-mode SI-Drive
  • Sports pedals
  • Unique front bumper profile
  • 2.0 litre direct injection turbocharged horizontally opposed Boxer engine produces 177 Kilowatts of power at 5600 rpm and 350 Newtonmetres of torque at 2400-3600 rpm

Forester 2.0 XT Premium Adds

  • Automatic cargo door
  • Automatic dusk sensing headlights
  • Factory-fitted satellite navigation
  • Eight-way adjustable power driver’s and front passenger seat
  • EyeSight® driver assist system, with steering wheel controls
  • Front wipers with de-icers
  • harman kardon® speaker system – eight speakers
  • Heated door mirrors
  • Heated front seats
  • Leather trim
  • Push-button start with smart key entry
  • Rain sensing front wipers

Forester 2.0D-L (Adds to Forester 2.0i-L Specifications. Does not include X-Mode, paddleshift or HID headlights in manual variants; does not include Auto Stop-Start or SI-Drive in any diesel variants)

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • 2.0 litre DOHC turbocharged horizontally opposed diesel Boxer engine. 108 kW/3600 rpm, 350 Nm/1600-2400 rpm

Forester 2.0D-S Adds (To 2.0D-L Specification)

  • Automatic cargo door
  • Electric sunroof
  • Front wiper de-icer
  • Heated front seats and door mirrors
  • Xenon low-beam dusk-sensing headlights with pop-up washers
  • Leather trim
  • Push-button start with smart key entry
  • Powered driver and front passenger seat (eight-way adjustable)
  • Rain sensing front wipers
  • Satellite navigation – factory-fitted
  • 18-inch alloy wheels

Subaru has launched a special edition of its entry-level Forester 2.5i-L variant with a variety of extra features adding value to the multi award-winning Sports Utility Vehicle. Enhancements over the standard Forester 2.5i-L are:

  • Leather trim seats with perforated inserts
  • Heated front seats
  • Powered driver’s seat
  • Push button start
  • Rain sensing front windscreen wipers
  • Front wiper de-icer
  • Heated door mirrors
  • High lustre 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Keyless entry

The long list of extra features adds just $2000 to the standard Forester 2.5i-L, giving the Special Edition a starting price with manual transmission of $31,990 Manufacturer’s List Price*.

Subaru Australia Managing Director, Nick Senior, said: “Forester offers incredible value for money. There is a long list of extra equipment - and it’s equipment that buyers love in an SUV.”
He added: “Forester remains a firm favourite in our family-friendly All-Wheel Drive range and this special edition underlines its value on top of the proven Subaru traits of durability, safety, rock-solid engineering and retained value.”

*Prices are Subaru (Aust) Pty Limited’s Manufacturer’s List Prices only and include GST on the list price but exclude dealer delivery charges and all other government and statutory charges. For the drive away price of Subaru vehicles consumers should be advised to contact their local authorized Subaru dealer.